What does a stress headache feel like?
What is Stress Headaches?
Stress headaches, also known as tension headaches, daily headaches, chronic non-progressive headaches or muscle contraction headaches, are the most common type of a headache.
The stress headaches happen, as evident from the name is due to stress. Over 50% of adults experience stress headaches; this condition is more common among women. Generally, the stress headaches start with a milder note during the afternoons. These headaches may be mild and episodic (occurs less than fifteen days a month). And last from an hour to the entire day, pain persists continuously.
Other people experience extreme (or chronic) stress headaches, which occurs daily or more than fifteen days a month. Symptoms of stress headaches may include irritability, frequent dizziness, fatigue, changes in sleeping patterns, muscle aches, disturbed concentration, sensitivity to noise or light and headaches early in the morning.
Stress Headache Causes
Unfortunately, it is difficult to know the cause of stress headaches. As the stress is un parameterized so is a headache associated with it. However, stress headaches are generally triggered by work, friends, school, family and any internal or environmental stress.
There are a number of contributing factors that are present. Whether it is anxiety, poor eating or sleeping habits, increased stress, or eyestrain can often cause a headache. Muscular strain and fatigue due to overexertion, poor posture or work-related pressure could also contribute.
The symptoms of a stress headache can include pain radiating from the back of the head and neck, a constricting band like feeling that circles the skull. Some people report sensitivity to light. The pain of a stress headache can last for several minutes or hours. Many people can continue to function despite the pain and are able to work through it.
Treating Stress Headaches
Welcome adolescence and so the problems associated. Stress headaches are part of growing up. When the muscles of your neck suddenly tighten, it could mean that you’re experiencing a stress headache.
It is absolutely advisable to consult a doctor if experiencing such a headache as stress headaches may occur due to different reasons and intensity. For an extremely painful headache, your physician could make you take x-ray examinations, blood tests, brain scans and other tests to determine how to treat your stress headache.
If the pain becomes just unbearable, it is better to take over-the-counter pain relievers. Be aware, though, that drugs without a prescription could cause stomach bleeding, ulcer or other potential side effects.
Apart from the medicines, certain precautions taken can definitely help you avoid the stress headaches. Lifestyle changes such as a proper diet, drinking lots of water and regular exercise are known to prevent stress headaches. Studies have shown that smokers are more likely to experience extreme stress headaches compared to non-smokers. It is better to quit before becoming chronic. If you’re always tired, not getting enough sleep, suppress anger, or always irritable and high-strung about little things, you should relax and take a nap to avoid headaches.
Stress Headache Remedies:
Some remedies for these kinds of headaches can be a combination of medicines that contain aspirin, caffeine (Excedrin), and acetaminophen, among others. The medication should be taken only as recommended, as large quantities can cause toxicity in the liver. Non-medical remedies that can be helpful include, stress management, exercise, breathing techniques, massage therapy or even learning to avoid stressful situations that can lead to stress headaches.
Other home remedies that can be used are making sure you are not mildly dehydrated or hungry, as this can cause headaches as well. Some people have found that eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, like flaxseed, seem to diminish headaches. In addition, some people find that breathing the scent of peppermint or a gentle scalp massage seems to relieve the pain.
Reference; Blanda, Michelle, et al. “Tension Headache.” Medscape. 17 May 2012.
What does a stress headache feel like? Last Updated: 31/10/2017